Posted by Andy on April 24, 2011
Follow along with events from the last several hours for me:
- Last night I was reading Josh Wilker's Cardboard Gods and was reading the entry with the 1978 Topps Tom Seaver. Wilker noted it was Seaver's first card in a Reds uniform. He remarked about the other movement in Seaver's career from that point forward. (Incidentally, a review of the book by me and hopefully a special contest will be forthcoming on this blog.)
- Just before I went to sleep (but after my wife turned out the light) I checked Seaver's career stats on the B-R.com mobile site on my iPhone.
- I was very surprised to see that Seaver had won 21 games in 1977 after splitting the season between the Mets and the Reds. I had always thought that Rick Sutcliffe in 1984 had been the only guy in recent times (which for me is usually post-WWII) to win 20+ in a season in which he changed teams. Maybe it's that Sutcliffe is the only guy to win the Cy Young in such a season?
- Anyway, that got me to thinking about who else might have done it. The Play Index doesn't allow for an easy way to search for this, as the "Franchises Played For" criterion is for careers only, not individual seasons.
- So I turned to Google and searched for something like "win 20 games playing for two teams Sutcliffe Seaver".
- The first thing that came up with a link in Google Books to a Baseball Digest article from January 1985 by Larry F. Rasmussen. The article was of course writing about Sutcliffe's achievements from the season that had just ended, and includes a list of other pitchers to win 20 while switching teams. In fact, Rasmussen broke it down into players who did it while switching leagues, and others like Seaver who did it while switching teams in the same league. Anyway, it's been done a fair number of times, and the last time before Seaver was by Virgil Trucks in 1953. Has it happened since 1985? I can't think of a case. (The first couple of cases that flew into my mind were CC Sabathia in 2008 when he won 11 after going to the Brewers, but he had won only 6 with the Indians, and David Cone, who won 9 with the Yankees in 1995 but had won only 9 with the Blue Jays.)
Anyway, it's incredible that you can see all these back issues of publications like Baseball Digest on Google for free. Check out some of the other cool things in that issue:
- Wayne Stewart has a diary of the 1984 season starting on Page 78. It's a fun read, and I never knew that Tony LaRussa played lefthander Mike Squires at 3rd base. Has any lefthander gotten significant time at 3rd since? Also, the article talks about him handling chances without any errors, but doesn't that totally miss the point of why lefthanders don't play 3rd base? It has nothing to do with their ability to handle batted balls, but rather the time it takes to turn, set, and throw to the right side of the infield (or so I thought at least.) There's tons of other interesting stuff in this article.
- Check out the Personality Posters ad on page 93. Only $5.00 each!
- The mailbag on Page 10 has a neat question about outfields where all 3 members drove in 100 runs each. That sort of thing is easy as pie to find now. The 2003 Braves are the 4th team to do it.
- On Page 37, David Surdam writes about teams with 6+ guys having 80 or more RBI. As you might imagine, that record was beaten and diluted by the Steroid Era.
- You can't miss the feature on Page 47 entitled "Major League Baseball is Moving Toward Parity" by Bud Selig Rich Hofmann.
- See how times have changed with the crossword puzzle (actually an advertisement for Newport Cigarettes) on page 52.
- On Page 69, Lonnie Wheeler wonders if Eric Davis is the "Next Phenom for the Reds". I'll go ahead and answer that one: hell yes.
- Coming from the I-did-not-know-that file is a neat bit on Page 73 by Guy Waterman with an all-time All-Star team using players out-of-position, meaning at positions they played in the big leagues but not the positions we know them for (such as Hank Aaron at 2B and Johnny Bench at 3B.)
Anyway, be prepared to waste hours going through this...